Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Stranger Danger

I don't know how many mommy readers I have going on here, but I have a question to put out to you (or non mommy readers who have some input from their own parents method and timing of broaching the subject to them). If this is something you have considered and maybe come up with a plan, or are still trying to figure out how to broach the subject, or if you are seasoned mom and have been through this conversation with your child already.

When and how do you start the stranger danger conversation with your kids?

I have recently been grappling with this after having read this article on human trafficking as well as being randomly approached by a childfind advocate, and just general scary news stories constantly bombarding me with the atrocities, too too much.

So? Any suggestions or stories?


  1. I don't have a suggestion or a story... but I do have a friend who teaches her children that it's okay to talk to strangers (but also that they should always stay near their parents) - I think it's much healthier than raising kids in a culture of fear, and it helps build community in their lives too. But I don't know the full logistics of how she does it. I'll pass on this post to her and ask her to comment!!

  2. I have many opinions on this topic, however the main one, that I would want people to know, would be that the statistics show that the most likely threat to your children are the people around you; IE: family/friends that you would least expect. These people have plenty of time to "groom" your children for the act that wish to carry out. So the title should be changed from "stranger danger" to just
    "people danger". It doesn't matter how they are related or how close they are with your family...teach our children, that no matter what anybody can always count on the police...and 99 percent of the time, children can count on their parents! My heart goes out to the children that can't.

  3. Liz, this is what my friend, Diana, has to say:

    "I remember being so sad thinking about how I was going to have to make my kids scared in order to protect them. It was sooo depressing for me to think about instilling fear of other human beings in my kids. Teaching them to be judgemental, reserved and shy around anyone they don't know. "Strangers". My daughter Abby, (5) has always been really outgoing and loves talking to EVERYONE about anything and everything that pops into her head (Jennie can attest to this ahaha) whether she knows them or not. I admired her ability to talk to anyone regardless of age, disability, appearance or any other factor that might have kept me from talking to someone when I was younger. It made me sad to think that I was going to have to teach her to be afraid and reserved around these "strangers"... anyways I decided that instead of teaching them not to talk to strangers, I'd teach my kids to stay close to Mommy and never leave my sight when we're out. That way they can talk to anyone they want and be perfectly safe in my sight. In doing this and in observing how kids naturally act around other people, they have taught me a lot about my own problems with being judgemental and afraid of other people. I didn't even realize I was like that. Like when Abby started a conversation with a homeless man at a park. In my mind I was telling myself "don't make eye contact. just keep walking" but Abby saw him as just another human being to talk to. Or when my second child, Kingsley (3) decided to go sit by some random, bearded ('cause that matters), man at a restaurant we were eating at. Both men were SO nice and sweet to my kids and seemed to truly appreciate the affection the kids offered them. My kids are constantly teaching ME things through their innocence and world view that's not been polluted like ours.
    Allll that being said, there does come a time when you have to teach your kids about 'bad guys' versus 'good guys' and how you can't tell if someone has good or bad intentions just by looking at them... but this should be done (in my opinion) when they're old enough to understand some not-so-nice things that go on in this lovely little world of ours. Abby understands things really well and wants to know the truth about everything, so she understands that there are people in this world who would hurt her if they got the chance and could take her away from mommy and daddy. But I made it clear that it could be anyone and we never know just by looking or even by talking to these people. Thus enters the conversation about never going anywhere with someone without Mommy's permission. More and more conversations and greater details will be sure to follow as the child grows in understanding and willingness to learn. BUT there's no fear because she knows that she's safe with Mommy or Daddy. We also teach our kids to love those that would do us harm, which I know is not something that everyone would feel comfortable teaching but I found that a desire to help and show love to all people regardless of who they are or what they may do to you is a wonderful thing. Annnnd that is my very long two cents! Hope it's helpfull to you! and good luck :)"

  4. Thank you so much for your input ladies, I very much appreciate you taking the time to send me your input!